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Norman Alfred William Lindsay (22 February 1879 – 21 November 1969) was an Australian artist, etcher, sculptor, writer, art critic, novelist, cartoonist and amateur
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boxer
. One of the most prolific and popular Australian artists of his generation, Lindsay attracted both acclaim and controversy for his works, many of which infused the Australian landscape with erotic
pagan Paganism (from classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, includ ...
elements and were deemed by his critics to be "anti-Christian, anti-social and degenerate". A vocal
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, he became a regular artist for ''
The Bulletin Bulletin or The Bulletin may refer to: Periodicals (newspapers, magazines, journals) * The Bulletin (Australian periodical), ''The Bulletin'' (Australian periodical), an Australian magazine (1880–2008) ** Bulletin Debate, a famous dispute from ...
'' at the height of its cultural influence, and advanced staunchly anti-
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views as a leading writer on
Australian art Australian art is any art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and ...
. When friend and literary critic Bertram Stevens argued that children like to read about fairies rather than food, Lindsay wrote and illustrated ''
The Magic Pudding ''The Magic Pudding: Being The Adventures of Bunyip Bluegum and his friends Bill Barnacle and Sam Sawnoff'' is a 1918 Australian children's book written and illustrated by Norman Lindsay. It is a comic fantasy, and a classic of Australian childre ...
'' (1918), now considered a classic work of Australian children's literature. Apart from his creative output, Lindsay was known for his
larrikin Larrikin is an Australian English Australian English (AusE,AusEng, AuE, AuEng, en-AU) is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to Australia. Australian English is the country's national and ''de facto ...
attitudes and personal
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philosophy, as well as his battles with what he termed "
wowser "Wowser" is an Australian and New Zealand term that refers to a person who seeks to deprive others of behaviour deemed to be immoral or sinful. History The term originated in Australia, at first carrying a similar meaning to "lout" (an annoying o ...
ism". One such battle is portrayed in the 1994 film ''
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'', starring
Sam Neill Nigel John Dermot "Sam" Neill (born 14 September 1947) is a New Zealand actor, director, producer and screenwriter. Born in Omagh, Northern Ireland, Neill moved to Christchurch, New Zealand, with his family in 1954. He first achieved recognit ...

Sam Neill
and filmed on location at Lindsay's home in the
Blue MountainsBlue Mountains may refer to: Geography *Blue Mountains (New South Wales), Australia **City of Blue Mountains, a local government area west of Sydney **Blue Mountains Line, a railway line **Blue Mountains National Park **Blue Mountains walking track ...
, west of
Sydney Sydney ( ; Dharug The Darug or Dharug people are an Aboriginal Australian people, who share strong ties of kinship and, in Colonial Australia, pre-colonial times, survived as skilled hunters in family groups or clans, scattered througho ...

Sydney
. It is now known as the
Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum The Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum is a heritage-listed former residence and farmlet and now art gallery, tourist attraction and museum located at 14-20 Norman Lindsay Crescent, in the Blue Mountains (New South Wales), Blue Mountains town of ...
and is maintained by the
National Trust of Australia The National Trust of Australia, officially the Australian Council of National Trusts (ACNT), is the Australian national peak body for community-based, non-government non-profit organisations committed to promoting and conserving Australia's ind ...
.


Personal life

Lindsay was born in
Creswick, Victoria Creswick is a town in west-central Victoria Victoria most commonly refers to: * Victoria (Australia), a state of the Commonwealth of Australia * Victoria, British Columbia, provincial capital of British Columbia, Canada * Victoria (mytholog ...

Creswick, Victoria
, the son of Anglo-Irish surgeon Robert Charles William Alexander Lindsay (1843–1915) and Jane Elizabeth Lindsay (1848–1932), daughter of Rev. Thomas Williams, Wesleyen missionary, from Creswick. The fifth of ten children, he was the brother of Percy Lindsay (1870–1952), Lionel Lindsay (1874–1961), Ruby Lindsay (1885–1919), and Daryl Lindsay (1889–1976). Lindsay married Catherine (Kate) Agatha Parkinson, in Melbourne on 23 May 1900. Their son Jack Lindsay (writer), Jack was born in Melbourne on 20 October 1900, followed by Raymond Lindsay, Raymond in 1903 and Philip Lindsay, Philip in 1906. They divorced in 1918. He later married Rose Lindsay, Rose Soady who was also his business manager, a most recognisable model, and the printer for most of his etchings. They had two daughters: Jane Lindsay, born in 1920, and Helen Lindsay, born in 1921. Philip died in 1958 and Raymond in 1960. In the Lindsay tradition, Jack became a prolific publisher, writer, translator and activist. Philip also became a writer of historical novels, and worked for the film industry. Lindsay is buried in Springwood Cemetery in Springwood, New South Wales, Springwood, close to Faulconbridge where he lived.


Career

In 1895, Lindsay moved to Melbourne to work on a local magazine with his older brother Lionel. His Melbourne experiences are described in ''Rooms and Houses''. In 1901, he and Lionel joined the staff of the The Bulletin (Australian periodical), Sydney Bulletin, a weekly newspaper, magazine and review. His association there would last fifty years. Lindsay travelled to Europe in 1909, Rose followed later. In Naples he began 100 pen-and-ink illustrations for Gaius Petronius, Petronius' ''Satyricon''. Visits to the then Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington Museum where he made sketches of model ships in the Museum's collection stimulated a lifelong interest in ship models. The Lindsays returned to Australia in 1911. Lindsay wrote the children's classic ''
The Magic Pudding ''The Magic Pudding: Being The Adventures of Bunyip Bluegum and his friends Bill Barnacle and Sam Sawnoff'' is a 1918 Australian children's book written and illustrated by Norman Lindsay. It is a comic fantasy, and a classic of Australian childre ...
'' which was published in 1918. Many of his novels have a frankness and vitality that matches his art. In 1930 he created a scandal when his novel ''Redheap'' (supposedly based on his hometown, Creswick) was banned due to censorship laws. In 1938, Lindsay published ''Age of Consent'', which described the experience of a middle-aged painter on a trip to a rural area, who meets an adolescent girl who serves as his model, and then lover. The book, published in Britain, was banned in Australia until 1962. Lindsay also worked as an editorial cartoonist, notable for often illustrating the racist and right-wing political leanings that dominated ''The Bulletin'' at that time; the "Red Scare, Red Menace" and "Yellow Peril" were popular themes in his cartoons. These attitudes occasionally spilled over into his other work, and modern editions of ''The Magic Pudding'' often omit one couplet in which "you unmitigated Jew" is used as an insult. Lindsay was associated with a number of poets, such as Kenneth Slessor, Francis Webb (poet), Francis Webb and Hugh McCrae, influencing them in part through a philosophical system outlined in his book ''Creative Effort''. He also illustrated the cover for the seminal Henry Lawson book, ''While the Billy Boils''. Lindsay's son, Jack Lindsay (writer), Jack Lindsay, emigrated to England, where he set up Fanfrolico Press, which issued works illustrated by Lindsay. Lindsay influenced numerous artists, notably the illustrators Roy Krenkel and Frank Frazetta; he was also good friends with Ernest Moffitt.


Works

Lindsay is widely regarded as one of Australia's greatest artists, producing a vast body of work in different media, including Pen Drawing, pen drawing, etching, watercolour, Oil painting, oil and sculptures in concrete and bronze. A large body of his work is housed in his former home at Faulconbridge, New South Wales, now the
Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum The Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum is a heritage-listed former residence and farmlet and now art gallery, tourist attraction and museum located at 14-20 Norman Lindsay Crescent, in the Blue Mountains (New South Wales), Blue Mountains town of ...
, and many works reside in private and corporate collections. His art continues to climb in value today. In 2002, a record price was attained for his oil painting ''Spring's Innocence'', which sold to the National Gallery of Victoria for A$333,900.


Loss

His frank and sumptuous nudes were highly controversial. In 1940, Lindsay took sixteen crates of paintings, drawings and etchings to the U.S. to protect them from the war. Unfortunately, they were discovered when the train they were on caught fire and were impounded and subsequently book burning, burned as pornography by American officials. The artist's older brother Lionel remembered Lindsay's reaction: "Don't worry, I'll do more."


Output

Lindsay's creative output was vast, his energy enormous. Several eyewitness accounts tell of his working practices in the 1920s. He would wake early and produce a watercolour before breakfast, then by mid-morning he would be in his etching studio where he would work until late afternoon. He would work on a concrete sculpture in the garden during the afternoon and in the evening write a new chapter for whatever novel he was working on at the time. As a break, he would work on a model ship some days. He was highly inventive, melting down the lead casings of oil paint tubes to use for the figures on his model ships, made a large easel using a door, carved and decorated furniture, designed and built chairs, created garden planters, Roman columns and built his own additions to the Faulconbridge property.


Screen versions of Lindsay's work


Film

The first major screen adaptation of Lindsay's literary works was the 1953 British film ''Our Girl Friday'', based on his 1934 novel ''The Cautionary Armorist''. The 1969 Australian-British co-production ''Age of Consent (film), Age of Consent'', adapted from Lindsay's 1938 novel of the same name, was the last full-length feature film directed by Michael Powell, and starred James Mason and Helen Mirren in her first credited movie role. In 1994,
Sam Neill Nigel John Dermot "Sam" Neill (born 14 September 1947) is a New Zealand actor, director, producer and screenwriter. Born in Omagh, Northern Ireland, Neill moved to Christchurch, New Zealand, with his family in 1954. He first achieved recognit ...

Sam Neill
played a fictionalised version of Lindsay in John Duigan's ''
Sirens Siren or sirens may refer to: Common meanings * Siren (alarm) A siren is a loud noise-making device. Civil defense siren A civil defense siren (also known as an air-raid siren) is a siren used to provide an emergency population warn ...
'', set and filmed primarily at Lindsay's Faulconbridge home. The film is also notable as the movie debut of Australian supermodel Elle Macpherson.


Television

In 1972 five novels were adapted for TV as part of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Norman Lindsay festival. These were ''Halfway to Anywhere'' (adapted by Cliff Green), ''Redheap'' (adapted by Eleanor Witcombe), ''A Curate in Bohemia ''(adapted by Michael Boddy), ''The Cousin from Fiji'' (adapted by Barbara Vernon (writer), Barbara Vernon) and ''Dust or Polish'' (adapted by Peter Kenna). Searches of the ABC's TARA Online television database and the collection database of the National Film & Sound Archivehttp://colsearch.nfsa.afc.gov.au/nfsa/search/search.w3p;adv=;query=;resCount= (conducted 4 Mar 2009) failed to return any results for these programs. Regrettably, many videotaped ABC programs, series (such as ''Certain Women (television series), Certain Women'') and program segments from the late 1960s and early 1970s, were subsequently erased as part of an ill-considered economy drive. Although the recent closure of ABC Sydney's Gore Hill studios uncovered considerable quantities of film and video footage long thought to have been lost (such as the complete ''The Aunty Jack Show''), the absence of any reference on the TARA or NFSA databases and the paucity of citations elsewhere (e.g. IMDb) suggest that the master recordings of the adaptations of the Norman Lindsay novels may no longer exist. The first broadcasts of these programs also predated widespread domestic ownership of videocassette recorders in Australia, so it is unlikely that any domestically recorded off-air copies exist either.


Bibliography


Novels

* ''A Curate in Bohemia'' (1913) * ''Redheap'' (1930) (published in the U.S. as ''Every Mother's Son'') * ''Miracles by Arrangement'' (1932) (published in the U.S. as ''Mr. Gresham and Olympus'') * ''Saturdee'' (1933) * ''Pan in the Parlour'' (1933) * ''The Cautious Amorist'' (1934) (first published in the U.S. in 1932); movie version: ''Our Girl Friday'' 1953 * ''Age of Consent'' (1938); movie version: ''Age of Consent (film), Age of Consent'' 1969 * ''The Cousin from Fiji'' (1945) * ''Halfway to Anywhere'' (1947) * ''Dust or Polish?'' (1950) * ''Rooms and Houses'' (1968)


Children's books

* ''
The Magic Pudding ''The Magic Pudding: Being The Adventures of Bunyip Bluegum and his friends Bill Barnacle and Sam Sawnoff'' is a 1918 Australian children's book written and illustrated by Norman Lindsay. It is a comic fantasy, and a classic of Australian childre ...
'' 1918 * ''The Flyaway Highway'' 1936


Poetry book

* illustrations in Francis Webb ''A Drum for Ben Boyd'' Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1948


Other

* ''Creative Effort: An essay in affirmation'' 1924 * ''The Etchings of Norman Lindsay'' 1927, London, Constable & Co. * ''Hyperborea: Two Fantastic Travel Essays'' 1928 * ''Madam Life's Lovers: A Human Narrative Embodying a Philosophy of the Artist in Dialogue Form'' 1929, London, Fanfrolico Press * ''The scribblings of an idle mind'' 1956 * ''Norman Lindsay: Pencil Drawings'' 1969, Angus & Robertson, Sydney * ''Norman Lindsay's pen drawings'' 1974


Autobiographical

* ''Bohemians of the Bulletin'' 1965 * ''My Mask'' (autobiography) 1970


Books about Norman Lindsay

* John Hetherington, ''Writers and Their Work: Norman Lindsay'', 1962, Melbourne: Lansdowne Press. * Rose Lindsay, ''Model Wife: My Life with Norman Lindsay'', 1967, Sydney: Ure Smith. * Jane Lindsay, ''A Portrait of Pa'', 1975, Sydney: Angus & Robertson. * Douglas Stewart (poet), Douglas Stewart, ''Norman Lindsay: A Personal Memoir'', 1975


See also

* Kenneth G. Ross: author of the musical play ''Norman Lindsay and his Push in Bohemia'' (1978) *
Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum The Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum is a heritage-listed former residence and farmlet and now art gallery, tourist attraction and museum located at 14-20 Norman Lindsay Crescent, in the Blue Mountains (New South Wales), Blue Mountains town of ...
* Margaret Coen


References


Notes


References


Bibliography

* Bloomfield, L., ''Norman Lindsay: Impulse to Draw'', Bay Books, (Sydney), 1984. * Hetherington, J., ''Norman Lindsay: The Embattled Olympian'', Oxford University Press, (Melbourne), 1973. * Wingrove. K. (ed.), ''Norman Lindsay on Art, Life and Literature'', University of Queensland Press, (St. Lucia), 1990.


External links


Norman Lindsay Gallery

The Norman Lindsay Website
– facsimile etchings and books


Norman Lindsay
at the National Library of Australia, * * *
Norman Lindsay at Australian Art

Joanna Mendelssohn 'Norman Lindsay's ''The Cousin from Fiji'' and the Lindsay Family Papers' JASAL 4 (2005)
* [Creative Commons license, CC-By-SA] * {{DEFAULTSORT:Lindsay, Norman 1879 births 1969 deaths 20th-century Australian novelists Australian cartoonists Australian children's writers Australian male novelists Australian watercolourists Modern artists People from the Blue Mountains (New South Wales) 20th-century Australian painters 20th-century male artists Australian bibliophiles Lindsay family, Norman People from Creswick, Victoria 20th-century Australian sculptors 20th-century Australian male writers Australian male writers Australian etchers Australian art critics Australian propagandists Australian male painters